“Although this focus lends itself to a younger group, we intentionally had no age cap — a recognition that ascents can begin at any age. The TIME 100 Next members all have grand ambitions, and they know they may face even greater setbacks. But by and large, ‘they are driven by hope.’ They are eager to defy the odds — and fight for a better future,” the magazine says.
The 2019 list pays homage to eight people from Africa. They are:
This Nigerian-born visual artist was named in the ‘Artist’ category. She is one of the daughters of late Dora Akunyili, a professor and former director-general of the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control of Nigeria (NAFDAC).
“The visual artist was only the second person to be chosen to create a mural on the walls of the museum itself, which was visible from Grand Avenue’s sidewalk. It featured brightly coloured scenes of domestic life: in one section, a woman rests her elbow on a table, seemingly deep in thought. Akunyili Crosby — who moved to the U.S. from Nigeria in her teens — is known for such scenes, some of which are autobiographical and incorporate references to both countries,” Time Reporter Madeleine Carlisle writes.
- Oluwaseun Ayodeji Osowobi
She is profiled by TIME reporter Suyin Haynes who writes, “Dismayed by the lack of resources available for sexual-assault survivors in Nigeria, Oluwaseun Ayodeji Osowobi decided to start an organization dedicated to the issue — despite her fears. Five years on, her organization Stand to End Rape (STER) has reached around 200,000 people across the country through its services, such as training for health workers and counselling for survivors. Osowobi — who has been honoured as an Obama Foundation emerging leader — has big plans for 2020, including lobbying the Nigerian government for a stronger bill addressing harassment at universities.”
This American-Nigerian chef and author is named in the ‘Advocate’ category. He is profiled by Tom Colicchio, the head judge on Top Chef, a popular American cooking show.
“He learned to be truthful with his food at a very young age, at a pivotal point in his career. That’s what sets him and his Washington, D.C., restaurant, Kith and Kin, apart: his decision to say, This is the food I should do. This is the message I want to put out there in the world. When a chef does that, it’s not pretty food on a plate anymore. It’s about telling a bigger story. The restaurant world is changing, and it’s becoming more inclusive. We’re starting to hear from different voices, and because of his honesty and his willingness to hold up a mirror to our industry, Kwame is one of the leading figures in that movement,” Colicchio states.
Explaining why she made the list, American filmmaker and writer Dream Hampton said, “I regularly insist to some fellow sci-fi nerds that they watch Pumzi, Kenyan filmmaker Wanuri Kahiu’s stunning short film set in a near-future dystopia. Pumzi — as is characteristic of Wanuri’s work — centred the stories of Black women, including the film’s protagonist, a scientist. In her 2018 feature, Rafiki, Wanuri once again told the story of Black women — only this time, they were in love with each other. The film, which was initially banned in Kenya because of its depiction of a same-sex relationship, also made history as the first from that country to premiere at the Cannes Film Festival. Wanuri has the vision, wild imagination and depth to deliver — and her films have a knack for casting a spell.”
Listed in the ‘Phenom’ category is Ugandan musician-turned-presidential candidate.
He is profiled by Aryn Baker, Time magazine’s Africa correspondent, who writes, “Ugandan pop star Bobi Wine spent his career singing about social injustice. In 2017, he decided to take things a step further by running for and winning a seat in parliament. Now the 37-year-old singer, whose real name is Robert Kyagulanyi Ssentamu, has set his sights higher, announcing in July that he will take on President Yoweri Museveni, who has ruled for the past 33 years through a combination of deft politics, questionable election practices and constitutional manipulation.”
Somali-British MP is listed in the ‘Advocate’ category.
He makes the list for “trying to make politics more accessible, especially to young people; during his tenure as lord mayor of Sheffield, for example, he appointed a hip-hop artist as the city’s first poet laureate. Now, Magid is working on an antifascism campaign in five cities across Europe, while continuing to speak out about his own experience.”
According to writer Cady Lang, “If there’s anyone who embodies the future of fashion, it’s Adut Akech. Since making her major debut three years ago, the supermodel has scored multiple international Vogue covers (including the British Vogue guest-edited by the Duchess of Sussex) and landed coveted gigs like closing the Chanel haute couture show as the “bride.” Akech, who was born in South Sudan before her family fled to Kenya and later Australia, has also made concerted efforts to make the fashion industry more inclusive. Among them: calling out racism and amplifying the stories of her fellow refugees.”
“In 2015, Google infamously issued an apology after one of its algorithms misidentified a photo of software engineer Jacky Alciné and a friend — both of whom are black — as gorillas. This kind of error is the result of what computer scientist Joy Buolamwini calls the “coded gaze”: when supposedly unbiased algorithms foster discrimination — in insurance rates, prison sentences, photo labelling and more — because they lack sufficient data about people of colour."
“It’s why she founded the Algorithmic Justice League in 2016: to highlight that bias, provide a space for users to report it, and help companies eliminate it in their own products. Buolamwini has since provided her expertise in two congressional hearings and is now working with government agencies in Europe," he writes.